Whether it’s eating a spoonful of cinnamon, copying dance moves or dousing yourself in a bucket of ice, social media challenges continue to encourage copycat behavior. However, fire officials warn that the trending “Outlet Challenge” could be dangerous through starting fires, generating electrical damage or even causing electrocution.
The challenge originated on TikTok, a video-based social media app that allows users to create music videos and comedy snippets that are between three and 60 seconds long.
Users who take part in the #OutletChallenge partially plug in a phone charger and slide a penny in the gap between the wall and the charger. Contact with the chargers’ metal prongs will cause sparks and in some cases fire.
Three incidents involved firefighters in Massachusetts, which sparked the Massachusetts fire marshal to issue an official warning about the challenge.
“I don't think students comprehend the reality that they can be electrocuted and killed, or start a fire. Parents need to talk to their children and tell them if you see this stuff, don't try to imitate it.” — Plymouth, Massachusetts, Fire Chief Edward Bradley
At Westford Academy in Westford, Massachusetts, an Outlet Challenge attempt generated enough smoke to set off school fire alarms.
Two scorched outlets were found at Plymouth North High School earlier this week alongside a cellphone charger.
Three students face charges that include attempted arson, according to CNN.
You can read the Holden Fire Department’s complete advisory below:
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